We weighed in early and positively on the Hold Steady’s Stay Positive. Since then, we’ve had more time to soak-up the lyrics, figure out interconnections, and chart continuing threads from earlier albums. At the end of the day, in the midst of this close listening, “Constructive Summer” remains a personal favorite, but “Yeah Sapphire” and “Magazines” have moved way up in the rankings, as have “Lord, I’m Discouraged” and “Slapped Actress.” (The title track, i.e. the best nostalgia track in recent memory, goes without saying.) Part of our investigation included reading your Premature Evaluation comments, which was kinda like doing research at a Hold Steady-themed library. That said — props in their proper place — those of you who haven’t heard the album in full can now stream the entire thing at the band’s MySpace (thanks for the tip, Kim) and join in the discussion. Stay Positive (and the Hold Steady in general) are largely about community, scenes, people digging in and interacting in both good and bad ways, so take a listen and get thematic.

Comments (14)
  1. craig finn = top five american lyricists working right now. i feel like i’ve said that before. “in barlight, she looked alright/in daylight, she looked desperate/that’s alright; i was desperate, too/i’m getting pretty sick of this interview.” and who could forget: “you don’t have to come from the right kind of schools/let your boyfriend come from the right kind of schools/you can wear his old sweatshirt.”

    and about A MILLION OTHER LINES that proves finn is writing circles around almost everybody in music (present company included).

  2. Kenny L.  |   Posted on Jun 10th, 2008 0

    This album is spectacular… More mature than anything they’ve done before… No weak tracks… Probably my favorite band at the moment.

  3. I’ve tried on several occasions to get into this band but they just don’t click for me. Musically, they sound like they’ve maybe listened to one too many Boss albums, and the lyrics could just as easily exist on a bad country album. Maybe once I graduate college and spend Saturday nights in city bars with girls who all just happen to have boyfriends, I’ll be able to relate to and appreciate what they’re doing.

    Then again, it took me three or four tries to get into Animal Collective and I now count them among my favorite bands. Maybe all hope is not lost quite yet. To each his/her own, I suppose.

  4. WEB SHERIFF
    Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
    Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
    Fax 44-(0)208 323 8080
    websheriff@websheriff.com
    http://www.websheriff.com

    Hi Brandon,

    On behalf of Rough Trade / Beggars Digital, Vagrant and The Hold Steady, many thanks for plugging “Stay Positive” (street date 14th July and advance, digital release date 9th June) … .. thanks, also, on behalf of the label and the band for not posting any pirate links to unreleased (studio) material and, if your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, ?Sequestered in Memphis? is available for fans and bloggers to stream / link to / post etc on the band?s MySpace … .. check-out http://www.myspace.com/theholdsteady and http://www.theholdsteady.com for details on ?Stay Positive? and the band?s 2008 shows … .. for a limited period a play-through of ?Stay Positive? shall also be available on the band?s MySpace and on NME (http://www.nme.com), although these are for promotional purposes only and the artist and labels have kindly asked fans and bloggers not to host or link to pirate copies of the full album on-line ? for which many thanks in advance.

    Thanks again for your plug.

    Regards,

    WEB SHERIFF

  5. web sheriff, this is uncalled for.

  6. Michael  |   Posted on Jun 10th, 2008 0

    I originally was going to hold out until the release date to hear this, but since it’s on MySpace and July is still an entire month away, no harm done I suppose…

    Anyway, holy damnation, do I love it. I was “stoked” when I read how Craig Finn said they were influenced by D.C. hardcore a bit more this time, and I hear that especially in “Stay Positive” and “Slapped Actress” — Two of my favorite tracks. I love the continuation of blue-collar, townie, religion-infused lyrical content. This album rocks from start to beginning, with no let up. Its probably going to be the best straight-up rock album of 2008.

    P.S. Anybody know where I can RSVP for the free Boston show later on this month?

  7. Michael  |   Posted on Jun 10th, 2008 0

    I originally was going to hold out until the release date to hear this, but since it’s on MySpace and July is still an entire month away, no harm done I suppose…

    Anyway, holy damnation, do I love it. I was “stoked” when I read how Craig Finn said they were influenced by D.C. hardcore a bit more this time, and I hear that especially in “Stay Positive” and “Slapped Actress” — Two of my favorite tracks. I love the continuation of blue-collar, townie, religion-infused lyrical content. This album rocks from start to beginning, with no let up. Its probably going to be the best straight-up rock album of 2008.

    P.S. Anybody know exactly how to RSVP on Going.com for the free Boston show later on this month?

  8. james  |   Posted on Jun 10th, 2008 0

    Stay Positive, Lord, I’m Discouraged, Slapped Actress are the best on the album.

    Another solid effort, but I still like Seperation Sunday the best. Can’t wait to see them at pitchfork!

  9. DS48  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2008 0

    “Constructive Summer” is the ideal album starter (or show starter…or drunken night starter, for that matter). But its lyrics like “Let this be my annual reminder/That we can all be something bigger” and “Getting older makes it harder to remember/We are our only saviors/We gotta build something this summer” are what makes The Hold Steady great. Finn takes a fun rock and roll song and turns it into a drunken call to arms.
    And the more I listen to “Lord, I’m Discouraged,” “One For The Cutters,” and “Both Crosses,” the better they seem to get. This album is incredible.

  10. andrew  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2008 0

    yea does anyone know how to RSVP for the boston show

  11. andrew  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2008 0

    yea does anyone know how to RSVP for the boston show

  12. Tito  |   Posted on Jun 22nd, 2008 0

    Album’s for sale on iTunes right now. The lot of it. What?

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